“Faust” von Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The Faust Theme in other works •
The Book of Genesis and the Garden of Eden
In the Book of Job, Job wishes to dispute with God over his fate
Icarus and Deadulus in Greek Mythology
Christopher Marlowe Dr. Faustus
Gounod’s Opera, Faust, Berlioz’ orchestral pieces, Damnation of Faust
Thomas Mann’s Dr. Faustus
What makes Goethe’s Faust world literature •
Characters: Faust and Mephisto
Reflects Goethe’s entire career from his 20’s to 80’s. Most of his other works reflect a single stage of development
We are forced to confront our human nature in all its facets and decide if we deserve salvation
Faust defies easy categorization--it fits neatly into no single literary period. Moreover, it does not follow rules for classical drama--it seems Goethe was willing to toss in the “kitchen sink” if it suited his purposes.
Oldest stories of a pact with the Devil • Saint Theophilus the Penitent or Theophilus of Adana (died ca. 538 was an orthodox cleric in the sixth century Church who is said to have made a deal with the devil to gain an ecclestiastical position
• The origin of the protagonist's persona remains unclear – It is widely assumed to be based on the figure of the German magician and alchemist Dr. Johann Georg Faust (approximately 1480-1540) – A dubious magician and alchemist probably from Knittlingen Wuertemberg who obtained a degree in divinity from Heidelberg University in 1509
Origins of the word ‘Faust’ • Faust--German for fist • Faustus--Latin adjective--"auspicious" or "lucky" • Fustum (Latin for "doctor's staff") of Aesculapius – likely figured prominently in the Legend of the Damnation of the Good Doctor of Paris, Cenodoxus, which also was an influence on Goethe's version
• “Faust”-- has since become attached to tales about a charlatan alchemist, astrologer and necromancer, whose pride, vanity, lead to his doom.
• “Faustian”-- has come to denote any acts that involve human hubris leading to doom.
Faust in other works--saved or doomed • • • • •
Johannes Spies’ History of Dr. Johann Faust--1587-- Doomed Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus --1588--Doomed Gotthold Ephraim Lessing Faust Fragment-- 1781--Saved Goethe’s Faust-- Parts I and II--1808- 1830-- Saved Wagner-- A Faust Overture--1844--Saved
• • • •
Berlioz’ orchestral pieces, Damnation of Faust--1846--Doomed Gounod’s Opera, Faust--1859--Doomed Gustav Mahler’s Eighth Symphony--1910--Saved Thomas Mann’s Dr. Faustus--1947--Questionable (May God be gracious to your wretched soul--my friend, my Fatherland)
Keanu Reeves 1997 movie Devil's Advocate--too clever& cute
Goethe’s Faust: Introduction • Historical Background • Goethe’s lifelong preoccupation with the material – Puppet theater-- fascinated as a four-year old – Adulteress punished
Development of the work • Urfaust—1775 – Has Gretchen scene –begins with scene “night” • Faust ein Fragment—1790 – Some deletions from original, struggling with material
• Faust I—1808 – Hold up: articulation of the pact – He changed the wager’s terms
• Faust I and II—1832 • Entire drama (both parts) first staged
The Setting • Dedication • Prologue in the theater • Prologue in Heaven – How does this compare to the book of Job in the Bible?
The Plot • What is Faust’s Problem • What does Faust want to do? • How does Faust’s vision of virtue compare with the Bible
Faust conjures the earth spirit
The Pact • What is Mephisto’s role • Lines 336-348, 1335-1358 • What does Faust sign up to? • Lines 1655-1706 • Does he live up to his bargain? • Lines 11573-11593
Mephistopheles appears to Faust
The Gretchen Story • Faust, empowered by Mephisto, seduces Gretchen • He is responsible for her mother’s death • Her brother’s death • Her pregnancy and her drowning of her baby
The Gretchen Story
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe â€˘
His Life and times
Goethe’s worldview as reflected in his works other than Faust • The Sufferings of Young Werther (1774) • Lyric poems – Ganymede – Prometheus – Wenn im Unendlichen Dasselbe – Gesang der Geister über den Wassern – Grenzen der Menschheit – Urworte Orphisch
Influence of women on Goethe’s artistic develpment Person Influence • • • • • • • •
Susanna von Klettenberg 1768/Leipzig Pietism Frederike Brion 1770-71/Strasbourg Early poetry, “G ötz von Berlichingen” Charlotte Buff 1771-2/Wetzlar “Sufferings of Young Werther” Lili Schönemann 1775/Frankfurt “Lilis Park” “Hermann und Dorothea” Charlotte von Stein 1780-86/Weimar “Why you gave us the deep insights” Christine Vulpius 1806-16/wife Mother called her “bed treasure” Marianne von Willemer 1814-5/Weimar “East-West Divan” Ulrike von Levetzow 1823-5/Marienbad “Trilogy of Suffering”
Ganymede How, in the light of morning, Round me thou glowest, Spring, thou beloved one! With thousand-varying loving bliss The sacred emotions Born of thy warmth eternal Press 'gainst my bosom, Thou endlessly fair one! Could I but hold thee clasp'd Within mine arms! Ah! upon thy bosom Lay I, pining, And then thy flowers, thy grass, Were pressing against my heart. Thou coolest the burning Thirst of my bosom, Beauteous morning breeze! The nightingale then calls me Sweetly from out of the misty vale. I come, I come! Whither? Ah, whither?
Up, up, lies my course. While downward the clouds Are hovering, the clouds Are bending to meet yearning love. For me, Within thine arms Upwards! Embraced and embracing! Upwards into thy bosom, Oh Father all-loving! 1789.*
Prometheus Cover your heaven, Zeus, With cloudy vapors And like a boy beheading thistles Practice on oaks and mountain peaks-Still you must leave My earth intact And my small hovel, which you did not build, And this my hearth Whose glowing heat You envy me. I know of nothing more wretched Under the sun than you gods! Meagerly you nourish Your majesty On dues of sacrifice And breath of prayer And would suffer want But for children and beggars, Poor hopeful fools. Once too, a child, Not knowing where to turn, I raised bewildered eyes Up to the sun, as if above there were An ear to hear my complaint, A heart like mine To take pity on the oppressed. Who helped me Against the Titans' arrogance?
Who rescued me from death, From slavery? Did not my holy and glowing heart, Unaided, accomplish all? And did it not, young and good, Cheated, glow thankfulness For its safety to him, to the sleeper above? I pay homage to you? For what? Have you ever relieved The burdened man's anguish? Have you ever assuaged The frightened man's tears? Was it not omnipotent Time That forged me into manhood, And eternal Fate, My masters and yours? Or did you think perhaps That I should hate this life, Flee into deserts Because not all The blossoms of dream grew ripe? Here I sit, forming men In my image, A race to resemble me: To suffer, to weep, To enjoy, to be glad-And never to heed you, Like me!
Wenn im Unendlichenen Dasselbe 1827
Wenn im Unendlichen Dasselbe Sich wiederholend ewig fließt, Das tausendfältige Gewölbe Sich kräftig ineinander schließt, Strömt Lebenslust aus allen Dingen, Dem kleinsten wie dem größten Stern, Und alles Drängen alles Ringen Ist ewige Ruh in Gott dem Herrn.
In the endless self-repeating For evermore flows the Same. Myriad arches springing, meeting, Hold at rest the mighty frame. Streams from all things love of living, Grandest star and humblest cold, All the straining, all the striving Is eternal peace in God.
Gesang der Geister über den Wassern (1789)
Des Menschen Seele Gleicht dem Wasser: Vom Himmel kommt es, Zum Himmel steigt es, Und wieder nieder Zur Erde muß es, Ewig wechselnd. Strömt von der hohen, Steilen Felswand Der reine Strahl, Dann stäubt er lieblich In Wolkenwellen Zum glatten Fels, Und leicht empfangen Wallt er verschleiernd, Leisrauschend Zur Tiefe nieder. Ragen Klippen Dem Sturz entgegen,
Schäumt er unmutig Stufenweise Zum Abgrund. Im flachen Bette Schleicht er das Wiesental hin, Und in dem glatten See Weiden ihr Antlitz Alle Gestirne. Wind ist der Welle Lieblicher Buhler; Wind mischt vom Grund aus Schäumende Wogen. Seele des Menschen, Wie gleichst du dem Wasser! Schicksal des Menschen, Wie gleichst du dem Wind!
Grenzen der Menschheit (1789) Wenn der uralte, Heilige Vater Mit gelassener Hand Aus rollenden Wolken Segnende Blitze Über die Erde sät Küss ich den letzten Saum seines Kleides, Kindliche Schauer Treu in der Brust.
Denn mit Göttern Soll sich nicht messen Irgend ein Mensch. Hebt er sich aufwärts Und berührt Mit dem Scheitel die Sterne, Nirgends haften dann Die unsichern Sohlen, Und mit ihm spielen Wolken und Winde.
Steht er mit festen, Markigen Knochen Auf der wohlgegründeten Dauernden Erde, Reicht er nicht auf, Nur mit der Eiche Oder der Rebe Sich zu vergleichen. Was underscheidet Götter von Menschen? Daß viele Wellen Vor jenen wandeln, Ein ewiger Strom: Uns hebt die Welle, Verschlingt die Welle, Und wir versinken. Ein kleiner Ring Begrenzt unser Leben, Und viele Geschlechter Reihen sie dauernd, An ihres Daseins Unendliche Kette.
Selige Sehnsucht Sagt es niemand, nur den Weisen, Weil die Menge gleich verhöhnet: Das Lebendge will ich preisen, Das nach Flammentod sich sehnet.
Tell it to no one but the wise For most will mock it right away The truly living do I prize Those who long in flame to die.
In der Liebesnächte Kühlung, Die dich zeugte, wo du zeugtest, Überfällt dich fremde Fühlung, Wenn die stille Kerze leuchtet.
In the coolness of loves evenings Where you beget and were begotten, You're overcome by strange new feeling As the silent candle brightens.
Nicht mehr bleibest du umfangen In der Finsternis Beschattung, Und dich reißet neu Verlangen Auf zu höherer Begattung.
No longer are you trapped and mired In the darkened shadowings But swept away by new desire To a higher lovemaking.
Keine Ferne macht dich schwierig, Kommst geflogen und gebannt, Und zuletzt, des Lichts begierig, Bist du, Schmetterling, verbrannt.
Distance does not pall your flight Spellbound through the air you're borne Til at last mad for the light You are a butterfly, then…gone.
Und solang du das nicht hast, Dieses: Stirb und werde! Bist du nur ein trüber Gast Auf der dunklen Erde.
And until you know of this: How to grow through death You're just another troubled guest On the gloomy earth.
Urworte, Orphisch Entstehungsjahr:
∆ΑΙΜΩΝ, Dämon Wie an dem Tag, der dich der Welt verliehen, Die Sonne stand zum Gruße der Planeten, Bist alsobald und fort und fort gediehen Nach dem Gesetz, wonach du angetreten. So mußt du sein, dir kannst du nicht entfliehen, So sagten schon Sibyllen, so Propheten; Und keine Zeit und keine Macht zerstückelt Geprägte Form, die lebend sich entwickelt.
Urworte, Orphisch Entstehungsjahr:
ΤΥΧΗ, das Zufällige Die strenge Grenze doch umgeht gefällig Ein Wandelndes, das mit und um uns wandelt; Nicht einsam bleibst du, bildest dich gesellig, Und handelst wohl so, wie ein andrer handelt: Im Leben ists bald hin-, bald widerfällig, Es ist ein Tand und wird so durchgetandelt. Schon hat sich still der Jahre Kreis geründet, Die Lampe harrt der Flamme, die entzündet.
Urworte, Orphisch Entstehungsjahr:
ΕΡΩΣ, Liebe Die bleibt nicht aus! - Er stürzt vom Himmel nieder, Wohin er sich aus alter Öde schwang, Er schwebt heran auf luftigem Gefieder Um Stirn und Brust den Frühlingstag entlang, Scheint jetzt zu fliehn, vom Fliehen kehrt er wieder: Da wird ein Wohl im Weh, so süß und bang. Gar manches Herz verschwebt im Allgemeinen, Doch widmet sich das edelste dem Einen.
Urworte, Orphisch Entstehungsjahr:
ΑΝΑΓΚΗ, Nötigung Da ists denn wieder, wie die Sterne wollten: Bedingung und Gesetz; und aller Wille Ist nur ein Wollen, weil wir eben sollten, Und vor dem Willen schweigt die Willkür stille; Das Liebste wird vom Herzen weggescholten, Dem harten Muß bequemt sich Will und Grille. So sind wir scheinfrei denn, nach manchen Jahren Nur enger dran, als wir am Anfang waren.
Urworte, Orphisch Entstehungsjahr:
ΕΛΠΙΣ, Hoffnung Doch solcher Grenze, solcher ehrnen Mauer Höchst widerwärtge Pforte wird entriegelt, Sie stehe nur mit alter Felsendauer! Ein Wesen regt sich leicht und ungezügelt: Aus Wolkendecke, Nebel, Regenschauer Erhebt sie uns, mit ihr, durch sie beflügelt, Ihr kennt sie wohl, sie schwärmt durch alle Zonen Ein Flügelschlag - und hinter uns Äonen!
Faust and Literary Periods • Aufklärung--Enlightenment – Have the courage to trust your own reason!
• Sturm und Drang – Feeling is everything--Embodied in Faust’s striving – Wild exaggeration--Power of Magic
• Romanticism – Defiant rebel, challenging conventions
• Weimar Classicism – Seen in Faust II in meter and rhyme – Basic oppositions achieve reconciliation
Shakespears’s influence on Faust • Both disregard for classical rules of drama – A good play should not mix comedy with tragedy, not proliferate plots and subplots, not ramble through a wide variety of settings or drag out its story over months or years of dramatic time
• Hamlet – “Alas Poor Yorick...” Compare to lines 661- 675 – “To be or not to be...” Compare to lines 1544-1571
• MacBeth – “Double trouble boil and bubble…” compare to lines 3999-4404
Faust influenced The Germans, their literature, music and arts --Hofmannsthal, and to an extent even Rilke, saw in Goethe: “one who had overcome the fragmentation of the modern individual; Mann, a prototype of the artist and of the German; Hesse, a companion on the lonely road to selfpreservation in a collective society. Schweitzer called on Goethe for aid not for himself but for all mankind during his life which has come to symbolize to untold millions the realization of Man's highest aspirations.” (Leppmann 171). --The later Romantic author Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) stated: “everyone from the greatest thinker to the most insignificant shopkeeper, from the philosopher down to the doctor of philosophy whets his wits on this book. For that matter, it is really as spacious as the Bible, and like it, embraces heaven and earth, together with man and his exegesis. Here again, the subject matter is the real reason for the popularity of Faust.” (Hamlin 442).
Faust influenced • Nietzsche – could not accept the possibility of Faust’s salvation
• Oswald Spengler – believed the faustian instinct is the key to understand Germany’s tragic destiny
• Jung – believed symbols in Faust II expressed many of the mythological and religious images which are inherent in the human psyche.
• Georg Lukács – interpreted the Gretchen/Faust tragedy in a marxist context
Faust influenced •
German life in 20th Century – In First World war, Germans provided a copy of Faust for battlefield and trenches – In Second world War, Goebbels used Faust productions to bolster morale – German POWs read Faust – Some suggest the Holocaust resulted from Faustian striving – After the war in East Germany, Hanns Eisler wrote an opera with Faust portrayed as a farmer-- more in keeping with communist ideology.
Faustâ€™s influence today Words by former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder:
"Goethe was a political realist who rebelled against the conventions of his time. Although very conservative, he was always curious about mankind throughout his life. Because he was not a cynic, he remains a role model for everyone, including me. Under the burden of political work, one never forgets that it is also language that holds us together. It is good to consult Goethe's lines which provide a break from the ordinary. I fondly remember the powerful lines from the Prologue in Goethe's Faust: "Die Sonne tĂśnt nach alter Weise" (The sun intones its ancient way)"
Faust and Religion Goethe believed in the "divinity of man, especially artistic man, who shares and rules the universe with God" (Kelling 105). By “saving” Faust, Faust became the embodiment of the soul of the German people. Goethe's conceived a new ideal of humanity with emphasis on subjective feeling and rejection of dogma. Goethe’s Faust is then a manifesto of humanitarian philosophy that points – not to Christ – but to God’s grace and to God's love that heals and strengthens (Kelling 135). Goethe's private undogmatic religion was praised as the ideal of this new religion of humanity (Kelling 104). Kierkegaard thought Faust’s ceaseless striving was a sickness of soul.
The Role of Religion • Goethe’s upbringing – Earthquake in Lisabon
• His experiences in early life and in Leipzig • His personal religious beliefs
Goethe’s views on Christianity • Goethe said that there is "much nonsense in the doctrines of the [christian] church." (Conversations with Eckermann, 11.3.1832) In his "Divan" Goethe stresses the value of the precious present moment rather than having the Christian attitude of only waiting for the next life and therefore, disgracing what God gives man in every moment of his life. • Goethe refuses the christian view of Jesus and confirms the unity of Allah in a poem of his "Divan
Goethe’s views on Christianity •
On the 6th on January 1813 Goethe wrote in a spirit of confesson about the multidimensionality of his thoughts on religion that he felt he was as a writer and artist a polytheist, as a natural scientist a pantheist, and as an individual moral person a monotheist.
Goethe could not accept the idea of the complete sinful nature of man and his inability to achieve the good on his own initiative and therefore could not accept Jesus as a savior who died for our sins and provided thereby a way for salvation. Goethe thought that what we call evil is simply the other side of what we call good and that one is necessary for the the existence of the other.
Goethe was influenced by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) who wrote in his Faust Fragment when a saving angel rescues Faust from the Devil: You (the devil) did not conquer humanity. God who gave men the noblest desires to know and understand surely did not intend him to be tormented because of them
Figures in Goethe’s inner Development •
Goethe writes in his treatise on botanical studies that after Shakespeare and Spinoza, Linnaeus had the greatest influence upon him. Goethe sought to discover the original plant. He refers to Carolus Linnaeus (1707-78), Swedish botanist and taxonomist, considered the originator of modern scientific classification of plants and amimals. Shakespeare‘s plays were for him the model and Spinoza‘s views on nature and God we see in Goethe’s lyric poems.
Immanual Kant’s influence on Goethe grew as Goethe aged. He said himself to his personal secretary Eckermann that it had been of great significance for this life that Lessing and Winkelmann influenced him during his youth and Kant in his old age.
Figures in Goetheâ€™s inner Development: Lessing The true value of a man is not determined by his possession, supposed or real, of Truth, but rather by his sincere exertion to get to the Truth. It is not possession of the Truth, but rather the pursuit of Truth by which he extends his powers and in which his ever-growing perfectibility is to be found. Possession makes one passive, indolent, and proudâ€” If God were to hold all Truth concealed in his right hand, and in his left only the steady and diligent drive for Truth, albeit with the proviso that I would always and forever err in the process, and to offer me the choice, I would with all humility take the left hand, and say: Father, I will take this oneâ€” the pure Truth is for You alone.
Famous Passages • • • • • • • • • •
Dedication poem--Zueignung (lines 1-32) Prologue in heaven (lines 243-70) Faust’s despair (355-97) Two souls live within me (1110-25) In the beginning (1224-37) Faust’s curse (1583-1606) The pact with Mephisto (1671-1707) Gretchen’s sorrow (3375-3413) Angels announce Faust’s salvation (11934-41) Eternal feminine lures to perfection (12105-11)
Dedication poem--Zueignung Once more ye waver dreamily before me, Forms that so early cheered my troubled eyes! To hold you fast doth still my heart implore me? Still bid me clutch the charm that lures and flies? Ye crowd around! come, then, hold empire o'er me, As from the mist and haze of thought ye rise; The magic atmosphere, your train enwreathing, Through my thrilled bosom youthful bliss is breathing. Ye bring with you the forms of hours Elysian, And shades of dear ones rise to meet my gaze; First Love and Friendship steal upon my vision Like an old tale of legendary days; Sorrow renewed, in mournful repetition, Runs through life's devious, labyrinthine ways; And, sighing, names the good (by Fortune cheated Of blissful hours!) who have before me fleeted.
These later songs of mine, alas! will never Sound in their ears to whom the first were sung! Scattered like dust, the friendly throng forever! Mute the first echo that so grateful rung! To the strange crowd I sing, whose very favor Like chilling sadness on my heart is flung; And all that kindled at those earlier numbers Roams the wide earth or in its bosom slumbers. And now I feel a long-unwonted yearning For that calm, pensive spirit-realm, to-day; Like an Aeolian lyre, (the breeze returning,) Floats in uncertain tones my lisping lay; Strange awe comes o'er me, tear on tear falls burning, The rigid heart to milder mood gives way! What I possess I see afar off lying, And what I lost is real and undying.
Prologue in Heaven MEPHISTOPHELES. _The three archangels_, RAPHAEL, GABRIEL, _and_ MICHAEL, _come forward_.] _Raphael_. The sun, in ancient wise, is sounding, With brother-spheres, in rival song; And, his appointed journey rounding, With thunderous movement rolls along. His look, new strength to angels lending, No creature fathom can for aye; The lofty works, past comprehending, Stand lordly, as on time's first day. _Gabriel_. And swift, with wondrous swiftness fleeting, The pomp of earth turns round and round, The glow of Eden alternating With shuddering midnight's gloom profound; Up o'er the rocks the foaming ocean
_Heaves from its old, primeval bed,
And rocks and seas, with endless motion, On in the spheral sweep are sped. Michael_. And tempests roar, glad warfare waging, From sea to land, from land to sea, And bind round all, amidst their raging, A chain of giant energy. There, lurid desolation, blazing, Foreruns the volleyed thunder's way: Yet, Lord, thy messengers are praising The mild procession of thy day. _All Three_. The sight new strength to angels lendeth, For none thy being fathom may, The works, no angel comprehendeth, Stand lordly as on time's first day.
Prolog im Himmel
Faustâ€™s Despair _Night. In a narrow high-arched Gothic room_, â€˘ FAUST _sitting uneasy at his desk_. _Faust_. Have now, alas! quite studied through Philosophy and Medicine, And Law, and ah! Theology, too, With hot desire the truth to win! And here, at last, I stand, poor fool! As wise as when I entered school; Am called Magister, Doctor, indeed,-Ten livelong years cease not to lead Backward and forward, to and fro, My scholars by the nose--and lo! Just nothing, I see, is the sum of our learning, To the very core of my heart 'tis burning. 'Tis true I'm more clever than all the foplings, Doctors, Magisters, Authors, and Popelings; Am plagued by no scruple, nor doubt, nor cavil, Nor lingering fear of hell or devil-What then? all pleasure is fled forever; To know one thing I vainly endeavor, There's nothing wherein one fellow-creature Could be mended or bettered with me for a teacher.
_And then, too, nor goods nor gold have I, Nor fame nor worldly dignity,-A condition no dog could longer live in! And so to magic my soul I've given, If, haply, by spirits' mouth and might, Some mysteries may not be brought to light; That to teach, no longer may be my lot, With bitter sweat, what I need to be taught; That I may know what the world contains In its innermost heart and finer veins, See all its energies and seeds And deal no more in words but in deeds. O full, round Moon, didst thou but thine For the last time on this woe of mine! Thou whom so many a midnight I Have watched, at this desk, come up the sky: O'er books and papers, a dreary pile, Then, mournful friend! uprose thy smile! Oh that I might on the mountain-height, Walk in the noon of thy blessed light, Round mountain-caverns with spirits hover, Float in thy gleamings the meadows over, And freed from the fumes of a lore-crammed brain, Bathe in thy dew and be well again!
Two souls live alas within me _Faust_. One passion only has thy heart
possessed; The other, friend, O, learn it never! Two souls, alas! are lodged in my wild breast, Which evermore opposing ways endeavor, The one lives only on the joys of time, Still to the world with clamp-like organs clinging; The other leaves this earthly dust and slime, To fields of sainted sires up-springing. O, are there spirits in the air, That empire hold 'twixt earth's and heaven's dominions, Down from your realm of golden haze repair, Waft me to new, rich life, upon your rosy pinions! Ay! were a magic mantle only mine, To soar o'er earth's wide wildernesses, I would not sell it for the costliest dresses, Not for a royal robe the gift resign.
In the beginning was the ... But ah, with the best will, I feel already, No peace will well up in me, clear and steady. But why must hope so soon deceive us, And the dried-up stream in fever leave us? For in this I have had a full probation. And yet for this want a supply is provided, To a higher than earth the soul is guided, We are ready and yearn for revelation: And where are its light and warmth so blent As here in the New Testament? I feel, this moment, a mighty yearning To expound for once the ground text of all, The venerable original Into my own loved German honestly turning. [_He opens the volume, and applies himself to the task_.]
"In the beginning was the _Word_." I read. But here I stick! Who helps me to proceed? The Word--so high I cannot--dare not, rate it, I must, then, otherwise translate it, If by the spirit I am rightly taught. It reads: "In the beginning was the thought.â€? But study well this first line's lesson, Nor let thy pen to error overhasten! Is it the _thought_ does all from time's first hour? "In the beginning," read then, "was the power." Yet even while I write it down, my finger Is checked, a voice forbids me there to linger. The spirit helps! At once I dare to read And write: "In the beginning was the deed."
Faustâ€™s Curse _Faust_. Since that sweet tone, with
fond appealing, Drew me from witchcraft's horrid maze, And woke the lingering childlike feeling With harmonies of happier days; My curse on all the mock-creations That weave their spell around the soul, And bind it with their incantations And orgies to this wretched hole! Accursed be the high opinion Hugged by the self-exalting mind! Accursed all the dream-dominion That makes the dazzled senses blind! Curs'd be each vision that befools us, Of fame, outlasting earthly life!
Curs'd all that, as possession, rules us, As house and barn, as child and wife! Accurs'd be mammon, when with treasure He fires our hearts for deeds of might, When, for a dream of idle pleasure, He makes our pillow smooth and light! Curs'd be the grape-vine's balsam-juices! On love's high grace my curses fall! On faith! On hope that man seduces, On patience last, not least, of all! _Choir of spirits_. [_Invisible_.] Woe! Woe! Thou hast ground it to dust, The beautiful world, With mighty fist; To ruins 'tis hurled; A demi-god's blow hath done it!
The Pact with Mephisto _Mephistopheles._ In such a mood thou well mayst venture. Bind thyself to me, and by this indenture Thou shalt enjoy with relish keen Fruits of my arts that man had never seen. _Faust_. And what hast thou to give, poor devil? Was e'er a human mind, upon its lofty level, Conceived of by the like of thee? Yet hast thou food that brings satiety, Not satisfaction; gold that reftlessly, Like quicksilver, melts down within The hands; a game in which men never win; A maid that, hanging on my breast, Ogles a neighbor with her wanton glances; Of fame the glorious godlike zest, That like a short-lived meteor dances-Show me the fruit that, ere it's plucked, will rot, And trees from which new green is daily peeping! Mephistopheles_. Such a requirement scares me not; Such treasures have I in my keeping. Yet shall there also come a time, good friend, When we may feast on good things at our leisure.
__Faust_. If e'er I lie content upon a lounge of pleasure-Then let there be of me an end! When thou with flattery canst cajole me, Till I self-satisfied shall be, When thou with pleasure canst befool me, Be that the last of days for me! I lay the wager! _Mephistopheles_. Done! _Faust_. And heartily! Whenever to the passing hour I cry: O stay! thou art so fair! To chain me down I give thee power To the black bottom of despair! Then let my knell no longer linger, Then from my service thou art free, Fall from the clock the index-finger, Be time all over, then, for me! _Mephistopheles_. Think well, for we shall hold you to the letter.
Gretchenâ€™s Sorrow __GRETCHEN [_at the spinning-wheel alone_]. My heart is heavy, My peace is o'er; I never--ah! never-Shall find it more. While him I crave, Each place is the grave, The world is all Turned into gall. My wretched brain Has lost its wits, My wretched sense Is all in bits. My heart is heavy, My peace is o'er; I never--ah! never-Shall find it more. Him only to greet, I The street look down, Him only to meet, I Roam through town. His lofty step,
His noble height, His smile of sweetness, His eye of might, His words of magic, Breathing bliss, His hand's warm pressure And ah! his kiss. My heart is heavy, My peace is o'er, I never--ah! never-Shall find it more. My bosom yearns To behold him again. Ah, could I find him That best of men! I'd tell him then How I did miss him, And kiss him As much as I could, Die on his kisses I surely should!
Angels announce Faust’s salvation Angels (Floating through the higher atmosphere, carrying Faust immortal part):
Saved is the spirit kingdom’s flower from evil and the grave: “Who ever strives with all his power, We are allowed to save.” And if, besides, supernal love Responded to his plight, The blessed host comes from above To greet him in delight.
Eternal feminine lures to perfection __CHORUS MYSTICUS: What is destructible Is but a parable; What fails ineluctably, The undeclarable, Here it was seen, Here it was action; The Eternal-Feminine Lures to perfection.
What is the eternal feminine? •
"Eternal Feminine" or "das Ewig-Weibliche" is the redeeming power of love, able to lift people up to higher spheres and is represented on Earth in its most perfect form as a woman. The Eternal Feminine is also an ideal of purity that inspires a man of action without inhibiting him.
The Chinese yin-yang symbol portraying the negative or feminine (yin) and the positive or masculine (yang) which proceeded from the One, the Tao, illustrates this dual but unified oneness. Duality within wholeness is not an optional pairing like salt and pepper or ham and eggs, but an interdependent relationship where one cannot exist without the other. *
The Ewig-Weibliche is another topic deserving of further exploration.
*("The Eternal Feminine draweth us ever onward"* By Nancy Coker, From Sunrise magazine, April/May 1999. Copyright © 1999 by Theosophical University Press.)
Goethe’s feet of clay? His attitudes toward Jews – Thought highly of Baruch Spinoza—admired Judiasm in the abstract – Friends with many Jews in high places—learned Hebrew—read Torah admired – Cultivated salon culture – However, never seriously considered amelioration in their civil status • Jews lived in ghettos—Goethe described in his Dichtung und Wahrheit (Berghahn article) • Emancipation of the Jews contradicted his class-oriented, patriarchal conception of society
– Though not a racist or anti-semite, he did nothing to improve the status of the Jews as did his contemporaries Lessing, Dohm, Mendelssohn or Wilhelm von Humboldt – During Hep-Hep program of 1819, Goethe, privy counselor to the Duke of Weimar, said nothing. His silence is perhaps more significant than his ideas on tolerance
Goethe’s feet of clay? • Attitude toward women – Goethe believed in traditional sex roles – He wouldn’t have written a female Faust • Faust is billed as a drama of humanity but male humanity is meant (see Nancy Kaiser article)
– Many women inspired him—Charlotte von Stein was his intellectual equal • His relationship with her is seen in his poem Warum gabst du uns die tiefen Blicke?
– Gretchen and Helen in Faust serve his development – The “mothers” who save Faust and seem to represent the “eternal feminine” are relegated to the remotest regions of “Einsamkeit” (“aloneness”) • His roles for women are limited in scope
Is the Faust “myth” dead? • Myth depends on anxiety – An effort to come to terms with an enigmatic force – Interprets an anxiety causing riddle or fear • The naked truth is not what life can be lived with • Myth rationalizes anxiety into fear • A limitless search for knowledge, combined with magic powers, is dangerous—it must be stopped – Faust wants to accelerate time and reach the future – Now, the computer paves the way to that reality
• Like Icarus’s flight, has Faust “served his time”? • Or is there yet more to say?
What do you think? •
Is the Goethe’s Faust an appropriate model meeting today’s challenges? Are Americans “faustian” as a people?
Contrast Job’s (in Bible) relationship to God versus Faust’s--which would you prefer in your life?
Should Faust have been saved? Does he have any moral code?
Does Goethe’s Faust champion humanism or critique it? – Is Faust a “superman” or a symbol of human frailty? – Is Faust really a tragedy, Why or why not?